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A boot is a type of footwear that protects the foot and ankle. Boots are higher and larger than shoes and sandals. Some boots are high enough to protect the calves (lower part of the leg) as well. Some boots are held on with bootstraps or bootlaces. Some also have spats or gaiters to keep water out. Most have a very strong boot sole, the bottom part of a boot.

Types of boots

  • Rain boots (or rubber boots) are made from rubber or plastic. Rain boots protect a person's feet from water and rain. People who work on fishing boats and farmers wear rubber boots to keep their feet dry. People who work in chemical factories wear rubber boots to protect their feet from dangerous chemicals.
  • Winter boots are boots that keep a person's feet warm in cold weather. People in cold countries such as Canada and Sweden wear winter boots during the cold season. Winter boots can be made from many different materials, such as leather, fabric, or plastic. Winter boots are insulated with wool or fur to keep the feet warm. Most winter boots also keep people's feet dry.
  • Work boots (or "construction boots") are designed for people who work in construction or factory jobs. Work boots often have a steel toe cover to protect the person's toes. Work boots are usually made of strong leather, to protect the person's foot from sharp objects or dangerous chemicals. Some work boots have a flat piece of steel in the sole to protect the foot from sharp nails. Many countries require construction workers to wear work boots when they are on a construction site.

Other meanings

People in English-speaking countries refer to boots in a figurative or joking manner when they tell someone "to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps". This is a joke because it is impossible for someone to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. What the person is really saying is "figure out your problem yourself" or "find your own way to better your situation."

As well, people sometimes use the term to bootstrap. This is an idiom meaning "to use something simpler to get something more complex to make itself work better." The word "boot" is also used to describe how a computer starts up when a person presses the "on" button.

Another term "To boot" is an idiom meaning also. For example, people say "he had a beer, and a whiskey to boot." This means that the person had a beer, and also had a glass of whiskey. Another slang use of the word "boot" is to say "Fred got the boot from the company." This means that Fred got fired from the company.